Wests Tigers NSW Cup side have been defeated 20-16 by the New Zealand Warriors in heartbreaking fashion at Campbelltown Sports Stadium today.
The home side delivered the perfect start for coach Paul Fletcher when winger Delouise Hoeter collected a well-timed kick from half Josh Drinkwater to open the scoring.
A crisp backline movement from the NSW Cup outfit resulted in the teams second for the day. Left side flanker Chance Peni was the beneficiary of some great lead up work by his centre partner Nathan Milone. Drinkwater converted from the sideline for a 10-0 lead.
The Warriors responded in the 22nd minute when halfback Mason Lino broke through up the middle of the Wests Tigers defence to put points on the board for the visitors.
Both sides played end to end football for the remainder of the first stanza, with several chances being missed in the process.
With just a minute before the break, consecutive penalties and a professional foul resulted in the sin binning of prop forward Matt Lodge.
New Zealand kicked a penalty to narrow trail the Wests Tigers by two at halftime.
The home side did well to cope with the absence of Lodge, but were caught out upon his return in the 52nd minute when Warriors five eighth Ata Hingano put in a deft grubber kick close to the line for winger Marata Niukore to cross.
Lino converted and the Warriors took the lead for the first time in the match.
The visitor’s lead extended with 19 minutes remaining, when Hoeter was unable to collect a Lino cross field kick, and Niukore picked up the loose ball to go over for his second.
Wests Tigers had a number of attempts to strike in the final minutes of the match, and kept the match in the balance with a superb individual try to Kurtis Rowe in the 75th minute.
However, despite a flurry of late chances, the home side wouldn't be able to grab the try they needed to level the match, allowing the Warriors to hold on for a 20-16 victory.
Be there for our final home game of the year when we take on the Warriors on Sunday, August 30! Click here to get your tickets!
NSW CUP FULL TIME — New Zealand Warriors 20 (Niukore 2, Lino tries; Lino 4/4 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Peni, Hoeter, Rowe tries; Drinkwater 2/3 goals)